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Instant Analysis: Pirates 4, Nats 2

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Instant Analysis: Pirates 4, Nats 2

Game in a nutshell: Presented with a golden opportunity after Erik Bedard departed with back spasms only eight pitches into the game, the Nationals' woebegone lineup still foundered against the Pirates bullpen. Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy each drove in a run, but otherwise the lineup was shut down by five Pittsburgh relievers. Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, gave up three runs in the fourth, and that was enough damage to deal the young left-hander his second loss. Joel Hanrahan stranded the tying runner on base in the ninth, getting Bryce Harper to pop out and striking out Ryan Zimmerman to end the game. The result: The Nationals will lose only the second of 10 series they've played this year.
Hitting lowlight: Pretty easy to pick this one. Top of the eighth. Bases loaded. One out. Trailing by one run. All the Nats needed was a base hit. Or really, just a fly ball that would have scored the tying run. Instead, Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel each struck out hacking at fastballs from reliever Jason Grilli. Espinosa flailed away at a 3-2 pitch for his NL-leading 39th strikeout of the year. Ankiel then took a huge cut at a 1-2 fastball at his eyelids. Inning over. Rally killed.
Pitching lowlight: As well as he's pitched, Detwiler does have a tendency to let one mistake balloon into a bad inning. Such was the case in the bottom of the third, an inning that began with opposing pitcher Brad Lincoln striking out but reaching on a wild pitch. Detwiler proceeded to give up hits to three of the next four batters he faced, giving up three runs in the process. Those were the only three runs he surrendered the entire night, but they were enough leave the left-hander in line to take the loss.
Key stat: Espinosa's struggles extend far back. Over his last 92 games, he's totaled a scant 13 RBI.
Up next: Stephen Strasburg faces the Pirates for the first time since his 14-strikeout, major-league debut in 2010, this time trying to avoid a stunning sweep. He'll face fellow San Diego native Kevin Correia in Thursday's 7:05 p.m. series finale at PNC Park.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win